Have You Ever Felt ‘Picked’ by a Saint? The Register Wants to Hear Your Story

How has a saint picked you? The Register would enjoy hearing your stories ahead of All Saints’ Day.

Personal tales of coming to be ‘picked’ by Sts. Teresa of Avila, Elizabeth Ann Seton and Joseph offer special insights as we approach the Solemnity of All Saints.
Personal tales of coming to be ‘picked’ by Sts. Teresa of Avila, Elizabeth Ann Seton and Joseph offer special insights as we approach the Solemnity of All Saints. (photo: Detail of ‘St. Teresa’ 1827, by French painter François Gérard; Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame; and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo | all public domain)

The yellow cover peeked out from the pile. Interior Castle was emblazoned in thick, Gothic font, with “St. Teresa of Avila” noted as the author underneath the title.

A Catholic coming across a classic read by a doctor of the Church isn’t particularly newsworthy — but the timing was: her feast day.

Interior Castle
An unexpected find led me closer to the saint-author. | Amy Smith photo

I immediately thought how providential it was.

I have never had a particular devotion to St. Teresa, but I feel like she was “picking” me, telling me to learn more about her and her holy insights, when I unexpectedly came across her time-honored writing.

As a devotee of saints like Thérèse and Gianna, John Paul II and Francis de Sales, why was Teresa picking me?

Maybe because Thérèse admired and loved her. Maybe because I need to be reminded of truths such as: “Believe me, the safest thing is to will only what God wills, for He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He loves us.”

Do you have a story about how a saint has “picked” you to grow closer to?

Register contributor Emily Stimpson Chapman has. She was “picked” through her specialty: writing, as she related on Instagram: “Confession: I used to think St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was an old fashioned school marm with nothing to teach me, nothing to show me, nothing to give me. She didn’t bear the stigmata like Catherine of Siena or dress down popes and emperors like Hildegard of Bingen. She seemed ... boring. So, I focused on those more ‘exciting’ saints and ignored Elizabeth Ann Seton, taking America’s first native born saint for granted.

“Then, I was asked to write about her. I studied her life. I read her words. And what I discovered was a woman who was anything but boring. I discovered the woman I want to be.

“Born in a time of disease and political unrest, Elizabeth Ann Seton wanted nothing more than to love her husband, raise her children, and serve her Lord. And she fought for that. She fought to save her husband’s business and later fought to save his life. When she lost those fights, she fought to support her children. She then fought to follow Jesus into the Catholic Church. That fight cost her everything — her friends, her job, her position in society. But she won.

“She then kept on fighting, overcoming the opposition of bishops and priests to found America’s first order of religious sisters. Her order would carry the light of Christ across a continent. Elizabeth never lived to see that day, though. After burying her husband and two children, she died at just 46 years old.

“I don’t want to die that young. I don’t want to bury my husband or children. But I do want to fight like her. I want to be tenacious in my love for the Lord. I want her faith in God, her trust in His Will, and her loving acceptance of the crosses she bore.”

She concluded, “Elizabeth Ann Seton was an ordinary woman whose extraordinary faith changed a country. She reminds us all that holiness isn’t about receiving the stigmata or apocalyptic visions. It’s about saying Yes to Jesus and following Him.”

I also came across this story, shared by columnist Elizabeth Wagner  in the Catholic Herald a few years ago, that is fitting to share in this Year of St. Joseph:

“The saints — they pick you. When they want to befriend you, they insert themselves into your life. For my birthday present, my parents ordered an Immaculate Heart of Mary picture from an online store. What arrived in the mail was a St. Joseph statue. They called the store about the error, the order was re-shipped, and once again — St. Joseph. So in addition to the Immaculate Heart on the wall, I have a little shrine to St. Joseph because he insisted on being there. Thank you, St. Joseph.”

What about you? How has a saint picked you? The Register would enjoy hearing your stories ahead of All Saints’ Day — please send your story to [email protected]

All you holy men and women, friends of God, pray for us!